Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Big Ten Blog: Michigan job might be too big for Hoke

Adam Rittenberg put together a pretty rational summary of Coach Hoke's tenure at Michigan (LINK).

Hit the jump for some nice cleavage from all angles.


  1. I think it's bullshit. I think he inherited a team that was decent as a spread team and he took them to an 11-2 season but took time to transition over to his style of football. I think he is a great guy with a big heart and honestly cares about people and this is just a slump year with a lot of young guys but the fan base doesn't want to hear that because we have been using "young" as an excuse for a long time. The funny thing about football is that sometimes it is inexplicable. I've played, i've been on the sideline. I know as a coach sometimes your star quarterback that's 21 has a great week and a great game and other times he has a very bad game because his girlfriend dumped him. But only you know that and you can't throw him under the bus to the media or to the fans. Sometimes the players do hear the boos and can't differentiate who they are for. Sometimes they buy into it and start to believe that they are really bad and removing that mentality as a head coach is by far the hardest aspect of coaching. We as a fan base aren't making it any easier on the team. I want and hope he succeeds.

  2. Remember: Hoke purposely didn't implement his desired offense in years 1 & 2, because he believed that his responsibility was to the players and the coaches should adjust to them rather than vice-versa. Contrast to most coaches, such as Rodriguez, who insist on adopting their strategies immediately and sidelining the unfortunate players who were recruited for another system and now don't fit.

    Even last year Borges was still adapting to the old spread formula, lacking, for example, a big back (who wasn't a true freshman). Perhaps Hoke deserves another year or two for the offense.

    Note that the defense, which didn't have those limitations, looks very good.

    Long Time Alum

    1. Yeah, no you are wrong. You must have forgot 2011 and 2012 when Borges would put Denard under center for a half in every game to force him to be a pocket passer. Only after halftime when we would always be down would they switch to a spread attack to win the game. The defining aspect of Hoke is his utter contempt to recognize how the game has progressed and his refusal to adapt at all (see punting)

  3. I would imagine the core elements of being a HC is the same at Michigan as it was as SDSU.

    However, the pressure -- the focus, the spotlight, the scrutiny -- of being HC at Michigan is no doubt several orders worse than at SDSU.

    There's a long list of coaches who have successfully made the transition up to D1 from some lower level, but I'm trying to think of a jump comparable to Hoke's. In contemporary times, I mean ... Bo's jump from Miami to Michigan was in a completely different era.

    Urban Meyer from Utah to Florida was quite a jump, as Florida is a pressure cooker of expectations for success in the SEC. Mark Dantonio from Cincinnati to MSU is not quite comparable ... MSU at the time did not have quite the spotlight on it. Butch Jones going from Cincinnati to Tennessee might be in the same league as Hoke's jump. Jerry Kill's move from Northern Illinois to Minnesota was quite a step up, but Minnesota hardly had the same spotlight on it in 2011 as Michigan did.

    Clearly *something* is not right at Michigan. What exactly what that is I can't say.

    Well, I'm pretty sure it's not something so simple as wearing a headset.

    1. I'm not in the locker room, but I think Hoke was misguided when he eschewed captains for leadership committees. When everyone is responsible nobody is responsible. Again, I'm not there, but I think he would be better served by having one or two (O&D) well respected players that can also have open honest conversations with the coaches. That way the team has one standard, not several that are each defined by class year, to which the players and team must meet.
      My background is military, and in many respects a football team is a pretty fair civilian analog. I see the coaching staff as officers, HC as a general, the coordinators as brigade commanders, and the position coaches as lieutenants. What is missing, what armies always need, are the NCOs, specifically senior NCOs. The team has no Sergeant Major, it has no team captain. It has committees, but no real NCOs except the ceremonial ones for watching a coin being flipped.

    2. > Well, I'm pretty sure it's not something so simple as wearing a headset.

      Magnus: I was thinking that you also could use our guidance on your choice of equipment. Just post what you use and how; you'll love it -- it will become a big topic of discussion and we'll 'help' you too!

      Seriously, this issue demonstrates the absurdity of much of the criticism. It's no wonder Hoke doesn't answer many questions. I know I try to seek advice from thousands of random people who have zero experience in my field, but lack the judgment to shut up, on the technical minutiae of my job. If even Brandon tries to micromanage Hoke about how to use headsets, Hoke should tell him to go f* himself as any quality employee would.

      Also, as a side note, a good way to hamstring smart, innovative employees is to limit what they do to what you, their boss (or in this case, ignorant random strangers too dumb to realize their limitations) already does and understands. You'll make certain that the organization's innovation is the sum total of one person. Hoke headset choice impresses me; he's thinking about management and communication and not just following the herd mindlessly.


      Regarding coaches advancing up the ranks I would guess it's more common than you think, but really someone needs to do a little homework (I'm not volunteering).

      (Now that I think of it, Brandon talked about research he used that showed factors that correlated with successful hires. I don't think it was published, but one important factor he mentioned was the coach having a local network -- knowing the people, the high school coaches, etc.)

      Fans always want to hire sure things, but if someone is already a proven success at a top school, he's probably not leaving. So top schools generally must 'promote' someone from assistant or from head coach at a smaller school. Looking at recent successful coaches at programs with the scale of Michigan:

      * ND: Kelly came from Cinci
      * Ohio: Meyer from Fla (an unusual situation)
      * Bama: Saban from the NFL, and a proven college HC
      * Oklahoma: Stoops was asst at Fla; never was a HC
      * Nebraska: Pellini was DC at LSU, never was a HC
      * Fla St: Fisher was OC at Fla St, never was a HC
      * LSU: Miles from Okla St

      Based on that list Hoke is unusual, but it's a small sample. It's surprising how many had no head coaching experience.

      I think that if we give him time, Hoke will prove to be a brilliant hire and one of the top coaches in football. He's innovative, committed, passionate, shows great ability in every area but creating an offense. Given his other successes, I think that will come.

      Go Blue!

      Long Time Alum

    3. @ drkjk October 2, 2014 at 10:54 AM

      I did not realize we were going with "leadership committees."

      Agree 100%. I'm not military, but I see what you're getting at. I work in a large multinational and I've seen plenty of committee-based initiatives. Unless there's a strong leader (your senior NCO analogy), then things just get mushy.

    4. @ Long Time Alum

      >> ND: Kelly came from Cinci

      I'd forgotten about that ... that's a closer analogy of Hoke's jump from SDSU to Michigan.

  4. Our team has talent too, just doesn't 'show' as well.

  5. I love Brady Hoke and what he stands for. I love that he truly wants to coach Michigan and do nothing else. I will also concede that we will probably never know how much influence he has with the offense during games or practices and we won't know how much Brandon interferes.

    With that being said, it is nearly impossible to defend him right now been if you ignore the insane handling off the issues off the field. In his 4th year after sustained good recruiting we are unable to field a MAC level of offense. We were last in the nation in negative plays in 2013 and we are last in the nation in turnovers in 2014. Every player who isn't a wide receiver has failed to improve under Hoke. This isn't a bad year, it is systemic. No one could have watched Morris or Bellamy in practice and thought they were ready to see the field these past three years ... Unless you have no idea how to run a practice or judge QB performance. No one could watch Gardner struggle and yet continue to ask him to run plays that highlight his weaknesses.

    The only way Home stays is if they find a way to make a bowl and then he fires Funk, Jackson, and Ferringo so that Nuss can bring in someone competent.

  6. I love coming to this site/blog everybody who post are usually very intelligent about their opinions. I agree with all of you We are a young team and I think Brady Hoke is the right coach for the job. I remember before the season started people were still saying That Michigan is about a year away from a successful season. We finally got a 3 deep roster at all the positions when fall 2014 camp started. I read on another site that 78 of the players are underclassmen.

    Looking back we were way too hard on Lloyd Carr and this isn't the same Big 10 when Bo was coaching. As a fan base we look terrible right now. If I was a coach I wouldn't want to take the Michigan job one slip up or not living up to Bo ( who never won a national title ) the fan base turns on you , stop believing in you , or believe the next guy can get it done. Its time for this fan base to get behind our coach and support him and this team. Do we really want to go through another coaching search and players transferring?

    Building a program takes time and need support inside and out ( Coach K , Beilien , Dantonio ). We are in this situation for pushing a coach out too soon ( Lloyd Carr ) and sabotaging another ( Rich Rod ). Lets support Team 135 no matter what Go Blue!!!

  7. Lots of feelingsball being played here. Feelings don't win games.

    For whatever reason, Hoke's tenure has undergone an increasing amount of disaster, with no end in sight. He's not the guy for the job, and this should have been obvious last year.

    1. Really? Last year? You are probably the type to yell out random stuff at a comedy show, because the punch line took too long to develop.

  8. Come on people. Hoke is NOT the right man for the job. You can only blame youth for so long. For some reason or another, he is an above average position coach (DL) who is a terrible HC. He might very well be a great guy, and a NICE guy, but neither of those guarantees he is a good coach. Unfortunately, player's coaches (read: nice guys) don't make for good HC material (this is my opinion). We need an asshole at the helm to rule and see and oversee everything. Nice guys can only get us so far. I wish Hoke can do it, but he won't. Barring a miracle of biblical proportions, this team is going to suck (yes SUCK), more than last year's team. If you think next would be better under Hoke too...I think you are delusional. I wanted him to succeed. He has gone from bad to worse. hurts...but he isn't the man for the job.